According to ANEN, the Spanish marine trade association, Spain’s recreational yachting market grew almost ten per cent in 2014 after an incredible six years of decline.
A total of 4,290 new yacht registrations were made last year, 9.92% more than in 2013 (which itself closed on a fall of -19.46% and 3,903 registrations) and the first annual increase since 2007.
While growth was progressive throughout the year, the first nine months showed most activity (up 12.9%), with a slightly slower fourth quarter. Taking into account the Mediterranean cruising season, this pattern makes sense.
Director of ANEN, Carlos Sanlorenzo, believes the market has now stabilized post-crisis and attributes the extra yacht registrations to the removal of the 15-metre ceiling for charter yachts claiming exemption from the 12% matriculation tax.
This has allowed the Spanish charter industry to flourish. Indeed, according to these latest figures, the charter market increased by 56.7% (373 registrations) over 2013 (238 registrations), and up 24.7% in comparison to 2007, the last year of growth in this sector before the economic crisis took its toll.
Overall, the most popular boat registrations in 2014 were for jetskis (personal watercraft) up 50.1%, RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) up 27.6% and sailing yachts up 21.8%. In contrast, motorboat registrations were slightly down by 0.6% to 1,841 for the year, but still make up 42% of the market. Registrations for collapsible inflatable boats were also down, this time by 9.71%.
Interestingly the larger the boat, the higher percentage increase of registrations. The 16-metre-plus market (52-foot) grew by 48.2% with 43 registrations, 12 to 16 metres by 28.3% with 95 registrations and between 8 and 12 metres by just 8.89% with 294 registrations.
Below eight metres, the most popular boat length in Spain, the increase was 9.29% with 3,858 registrations. Taking into account just charter boat registrations, this large-boat bias is even more marked with the 16-metre-plus sector growing by 157.14% with 18 registrations versus just 7 in 2013.
In terms of geographic location, the Balearics (14.78% market share), Barcelona (10.75%), Cadiz (7.32%), Madrid (6.60%) and Malaga (6.27%) top the tables for boat registration. The Balearics saw stellar growth with a 31.54% increase from 482 yacht registrations in 2013 to 634 in 2014.
Not only did these islands benefit from the matriculation tax exemption, they also received further good news in September when non-EU-flagged charter yachts over 14 metres were given permission to operate from the Islands. A second wave of registrations rapidly followed.